Alex has never been particularly interested in sports, apart from the occasional comment about footy teams, so I was rather surprised when he brought home a note about an after-school inter-school sports competition. Normally those sorts of notes wouldn't even make it into his bag at school, let alone make it home and into my hands.
[A bit of background: Alex has never really been good at the hand-eye or foot-eye co-ordination thing. Partly due to his gross motor skill delay, partly because it's never interested him enough to try and partly because he was afraid to try in case he "looked stupid" (his words not mine).]
He was really determined to give this a go and so, despite my initial misgivings, I signed the note allowing him to play. Once he started this, he'd be committed to it for the full term but as there's only 6 weeks remaining I figured that if he decided it wasn't for him after all, it wasn't too long a season.
Today was his first game of soccer and I was actually dreading having to pick him up. Typical over-protective mummy-bear I am, I was worried he was going to be picked on for not knowing the rules or messing it up for the ultra-competitive kids but he really enjoyed it. He said: "I don't know about the others but I had fun, even though the other team scored 9 goals."
I spoke to the teacher in charge afterwards and asked how she thought he went. Her very diplomatic reply was "well, he's not a superstar soccer player but he tried really hard and even tried taking the ball off another player. He seems to have enjoyed himself." I explained about his autism, which she already knew because she's his PE teacher, and asked if they were ok for him to continue even though he doesn't know any of the rules. Her reply was that of course he was welcome to continue and no doubt he'd be getting a book out of the library to find out all the rules. Seems she knows him well!
I'm so glad he's finally coming out of his shell/comfort zone and trying something new. Good on you Alex; I'm so proud of you!